The word ‘Montessori’ conjures images of the perfect playroom with minimalist, organized shelves adorned with open-ended wooden toys that’s sure to make any Pinterest mom swoon. But the calm and natural aesthetic only scratches the surface of the transformative power of the Montessori approach. 

In a new book, “The Montessori Child,” out March 5, authors Simone Davies and Junnifa Uzodike team up to provide a comprehensive guide for parents looking for more information about how to incorporate Montessori techniques and strategies at home—and it goes way beyond education. 

“We want to share with readers the understanding that Montessori is a way to see your child, and yourself in the role as a child’s guide, not instructor or teacher,” Uzodike tells Motherly. “It’s a way to journey through your child’s life and improve yourself, because those who understand this way of being with their child find that they improve themselves, that everybody that surrounds them, their extended family, their village, gradually they see everything change a little bit and get a little bit better.”

That’s where the Montessori method becomes a tool for social change, Uzodike notes. “It’s a way to make the world a better place, not by buying more stuff—but by being.”

In a nutshell, the Montessori approach is designed to help children think creatively and solve problems. “We prompt children to help them find their own answers. The compassionate heart develops through understanding ourselves and others, how we solve conflict, and get to know other people who are different from ourselves. Dr. [Maria] Montessori’s vision was to see children as stewards for peace. Our goal is to make Dr. Montessori’s wisdom accessible to families—we are just translating her vision for parents,” Davies says. 

While the book explores everything from the history of Montessori to child development from ages 3 to early adolescence, to how to approach tricky conversations with your kids and more, Davies and Uzodike shared a few simple tips for readers to get started incorporating Montessori principles at home today. 

How to incorporate the Montessori method at home

1. Slow down 

“Many times we’re moving too fast,” says Uzodike. “Just slow down to give [kids] time to be independent. If you’re trying to do things fast they might not get the chance to show you what they are able to do. Slow down in the way you interact with your children as well, slowing down in your speech, and slowing down in your thoughts.”

2. Make family agreements

“Making agreements is a really beautiful part of Montessori as children get older,” shares Davies, who uses this technique in her classroom teaching. “We sit down together to start the year and ask, how can we make everyone feel safe in the class and belong? Respect is important, so we ask, what does respect mean to you?” In Uzodike’s classroom, students set an agreement to care for themselves, others and the environment. “It is a living document so you can return to it and adjust,” Davies adds.

3. Take an opportunity to observe

One primary way to incorporate Montessori at home is through observation. Observing feels like it requires a special skill, explains Uzodike, but just watching your children will tell you a lot about them. “It invites you to sit down with no agenda and think, I just want to get to know this person better, appreciate this person, and notice things I didn’t notice before. What do they like to do? How do they react when they’re upset? When they’re sleepy or hungry? Do they like to sit when they read a book, or lie down?” Spend time getting to know your children, she recommends, because when you know them well, you’re better able to truly relate and connect with them. 

4. Invite children into the kitchen

“I really like cooking with children,” shares Uzodike. “It provides the opportunity to connect, share culture, grace and courtesy.” You probably already understand the power that food has in bringing us together. But taking part in what Uzodike calls “the practical life in the kitchen” is a great way to both connect with children and to give them some responsibility. 

“You can also expose children to new vocabulary as you cook together,” adds Davies. “Step in when they need help, and step back again. I love watching Junnifa’s young children making omelets!”

5. Set up the environment

“I started Montessori by setting up the environment,” Davies shares, “and that really does help the children feel capable and more independent. One of the main tenets of the Montessori method is to “follow the child”, and that can start to happen more after age 3, Davies notes. After that age, there’s less of the cute little trays and more following the child’s interest, collecting things that are helpful to them to make their own books or paper airplanes or make big work, she explains. “When you have an environment that meets the needs of your children, a meaningful activity gives purpose, concentration, helps regulate themselves, feel calm and feel like themselves.” 

But remember that it doesn’t have to mean investing in specific toys or a perfectly curated playspace. No matter your family’s budget, Montessori is accessible when you take the time to learn more about this proven approach to fostering children’s growth and development. “I’ve lived in different countries and I travel quite a bit,” says Uzodike, “and I’ve had to live Montessori with or without the shelves or materials. When parents think about it from an object or materials perspective, you can lose the true benefits of Montessori.” 

What’s most important, she shares, is the philosophy behind the methods and tools. “It’s the part of Montessori you can take everywhere with you. Stopping to observe your child, there’s no cost associated—you don’t have to buy anything.”

A Parent's Guide to Raising Capable Children with Creative Minds and Compassionate Hearts

The Montessori Child:

A Parent's Guide to Raising Capable Children with Creative Minds and Compassionate Hearts


When children are given independence, the tools to succeed, and the encouragement to build on their abilities, it’s amazing what they can achieve. The newest book in the bestselling Montessori series is an everything-you-need-to-know guide to raising your school-aged child (from 3-12 years old, with a bonus chapter for the teen years) in the Montessori way.

Featured experts

Simone Davies is an AMI Montessori teacher, author of The Montessori Notebook, a popular blog and Instagram, and founder of Jacaranda Tree Montessori in Amsterdam.

Junnifa Uzodike is an AMI Montessori teacher and board member, author of the blog Nduoma, and founder of Fruitful Orchard Montessori in Abuja, Nigeria.